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My mom has come to US on tourist visa and her I-94 expires on the first week of May.

Due to Corona Virus, travel restrictions have been imposed in our home country (India). Also we want to avoid the risk of traveling in flights at this time.

Is there an easy way to to extend her stay in the US by one or two months?

I am aware that we should fill I-539 to extend our stay. But in-order to submit the online application it requires a fee of $370.

  1. Is filing I-539 the easiest way to extend her stay at this time?

  2. If so, is it possible to waive the fee due to the Corona virus situation?

  3. After filing I-539 should she wait for an approval to continue her stay? Or is the receipt good enough?

Can you please help me with these? Thanks!

[Edit 1]: With the current situation of the virus, traveling anywhere sounds like a very risky operation, especially for elders.

That is the main reason behind this question. If the US government will allow visitors to overstay until Covid-19 settles down!

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    There’s no easy way to extend her status, there is only one way. I-539. You must be kidding about fee waiver, right. Nobody is going to waive her fee for I-539. In reality the USA government prefers that she leave. A receipt does not mean anything at all. My advise for her is to leave right now. If her request is denied she will begin to accrue illegal presence after first week of May and her existing visa will be voided if it still has remaining validity. – user 56513 Mar 22 at 13:00
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    @SyncMaster Even if an extension were possible, no-one knows if ‘one or two months’ would be sufficient. I’m afraid the best (only) option is for your mum to go home to India immediately. – Traveller Mar 22 at 13:34
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    She likely won't be allowed to go home to India at this point in time. The news has been showing reports about a repatriation flight with Indian citizens from US/Canada being sent back to Schipol airport because India refused them entry. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Mar 23 at 3:01
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    The USA has already deferred Tax Day 3 months, including the deadline to pay. (on the one year in the last 20 I owe a tax bill, go me!) If they'll do that, they'll do anything. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 23 at 19:47
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    With the current situation of the virus, traveling anywhere sounds like a very risky operation, especially for elders. That is the main reason behind this question. If US government will allow visitors to overstay until Covid-19 settles down. – SyncMaster Mar 23 at 20:30
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Is filing I-539 the easiest way to extend her stay at this time?

Yes. It's also the hardest way. It's the only way.

More seriously, there could be some sort of amnesty or other program offered to nonimmigrants in the US who are affected by the pandemic. If that happens, it could save you a few hundred dollars.

But I wouldn't count on it. I certainly haven't heard any mention of it, and the current administration is profoundly anti-immigrant, so it's unlikely to happen without political pressure.

In terms of risk analysis, the application fee will be well spent.

If so, is it possible to waive the fee due to the Corona virus situation?

Applying for a fee waiver is going to make her look like someone with financial problems, which will have a negative impact on her application as well as future applications for admission to the US. I would not do it.

After filing I-539 should she wait for an approval to continue her stay? Or is the receipt good enough?

Once the application is filed, she can remain until it is refused, or, if it is granted, until the end of the period of extended stay that is granted.

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    This is correct. I have experience with this. I think the next step after application is that USCIS will want OP's mom to come in for a "biometrics" appointment. However, for good reason (virus), USCIS has recently decided to close all "biometrics" centers. I suspect this will have a positive effect on OP's mom's application. It will just be on hold until they can schedule a biometrics appointment. However, who knows what they will do. – emory Mar 23 at 1:51
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    "she can remain until it is refused" - To clarify, she can also remain until the original expiry date (if later than the refusal). The way you've phrased it makes it seem like that isn't the case. – JBentley Mar 23 at 4:29
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    Also, if she is refused and the expiry date has already passed, she must leave immediately which will undoubtedly be significantly more expensive. – GalacticCowboy Mar 23 at 14:36
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    @emory That sounds like the denial will indicate the grace period, not that it is specifically or always 2 weeks. But even travel within 2 weeks will normally be significantly more expensive than if you have 3-6 weeks to plan it. – GalacticCowboy Mar 23 at 17:01
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    @SyncMaster I feel that a month or two is wildly optimistic. I would recommend 6 months at the minimum. The fee is the same whether you apply for a 1 month extension or a 6 month extension, but if you apply for 1 month then I don't know what you would do if things are not OK in 1 month and they are still processing your application. Can you change your already filed application to add more time? – emory Mar 23 at 20:42

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